On the road to Mandalay
Image kindly provided by EguideTravel.com
In 3 weeks time we are heading to Burma a country we have wanted to visit for a long time. We have decided to come now as there finally seems to be progress on the democracy issue and the opposition are encouraging tourists to come.
Our main aim was to find some volunteering opportunities but it seems they have found us! We already have 4 amazing opportunities based in Thailand that help Burmese refugees and we are in the process of adding some more in Burma itself. We feel very privileged to have these organisations on globalhelpswap and hopefully they will receive many volunteers through us.
We have read many blogs and articles saying how much Burma has changed and it’s not the same as it used to be. Let’s be honest, this is a good thing. Us travellers can get into real selfish moods when it comes to “authenticity”. I am quite sure that the Burmese people are enjoying the change with the extra visitors and the cash that they bring with them. I am not saying change for change sake is always good but this is a country that has been practically cut off since 1962. It’s easy for us travellers to enjoy 3 weeks of roughing it and then go back to our creature comforts of home. I bet the Burmese can not wait to have 24hr electricity, hot water and maybe even an ATM! We all like our comforts. That does not mean that the country will become “westernised” automatically. Only time will tell if that happens.
The other thing us travellers moan about is if a place is busy or popular. Here are some statistics to ponder over:
By 2020, 100 million Chinese tourists will be travelling around the world.
50 million Indians will be doing the same by 2020
The world population will be 7.7 billion by 2020 (700,000 more than now).
Everywhere will be busier!!! Unless we sign up to that mission to Mars we will all have to live with it. Luckily so far most of these new tourists seem to want to go to the “known” places which leaves the off the beaten track places relatively quiet. We can’t avoid the fact that the population is increasing and the planet is getting smaller. Us travellers will have to just accept it.
I am worried that I have depressed you all this Monday with all these huge numbers and statistics. Here are some cute kittens to make you smile.
So back to Burma. I suppose what I am trying to say is this. You will always read blogs, guide books and magazines telling you this place has changed, or it’s “too touristy”. We got told the same about Halong Bay in Vietnam. Thank the universe we did not listen to them. We loved it! Unless you go yourself you will never know. You decide if it’s too touristy. It’s easy for people who have already been to say not to go. Rest assured when we write up about Burma we will not say that!
Have a great week everyone!
Love & Peace,